Neighbors tell of bulldozer rampage
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Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Dan Davis describes the experience of having a man driving a logging bulldozer destroy two of his houses and an assortment of other structures in the Gales Addition today.

By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — A neighbor of Barry Swegle said that the two had argued in the past about the line between their properties before today's rampage that destroyed two of his houses.
Dan Davis, 74, and others told of man on heavy machinery tearing into homes, rolling over a pickup and smashing through a portion of Gales Addition east of town.

Barry Alan Swegle, 51, was being held tonight in the Clallam County jail for investigation of malicious mischief in the first degree.

Davis said that Swegle had driven past Davis' property this morning and made obscene gestures at him.

Then between 11:30 a.m. and noon, according to multiple witness accounts, Swegle allegedly got into a logging bulldozer — parked on Swegle's property a stone's throw east of Davis' lot — and drove west along a dirt alley way toward a manufactured home on Davis' property.

Davis said he had been working on this house in preparation for putting it up for rent.

As Swegle travelled west, Davis said, he lowered the bulldozer's blade and drove through a portion of Davis' chain link fence, taking out a buried phone line and destroying the house's connection to nearby power lines.

Davis said Swegle then turned the bulldozer around and headed east, plowing into the manufactured home on Davis' property and pushing it completely off its foundation and into a neighboring house.

Chris Main, who lives across East Pioneer Road, to the south from Davis' property, said Swegle then backed the bulldozer up and demolished Davis' Ford F-250 pick up truck and knocked over a power pole before heading east again.

“That was a sight to behold,” said neighbor and witness Phil Riley, describing the bulldozer backing up over Davis' truck.

“It looks like a bomb went off,” Riley told a friend on the phone.

Main said Swegle continued through Davis' neighbor's front yard, knocking down another line of fences, and clipped the northwest corner of another home as he headed northeast.

Main said he called 9-1-1 emergency dispatchers for help because Swegle was headed that direction and Main thought he was not veering away from other neighbors running from the bulldozer.

“He's got no concern for human life,” Main said he told the 9-1-1 dispatcher.

Swegle then reportedly continued northeast toward Davis' home, where Davis' wife, Mary, 74, was resting inside.

Davis said he had tried to call her on his cell phone as Swegle approached the house but could not get through immediately.

“I told her to get the heck out of there,” Davis said when his wife called back.

Davis said Swegle took out the entire east side of his home before turning north and destroying the Davis' home office.

Davis said Swegle also plowed through Davis' boat shed and damaged Davis' garage before heading north into a wooded area, where law enforcement officers reportedly caught up with Swegle and told him to turn off the bulldozer.

“That's when police showed up, and two deputies came up with assault rifles,” Main said.

Swegle was then taken into custody without incident, Clallam County Undersheriff Ron Peregrin said.

In addition to two of his houses, Davis said many of his tools, his boat and valuables inside his home were destroyed.

“I'm happy no one got killed,” Davis said.
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Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at jschwartz@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: May 11. 2013 5:27AM
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